New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Opening Statement: "Just the one roster spot, Todd Davis was waived which created the spot for Joe (Morgan) yesterday. That puts us at 53. Any questions?"
What are some things that Cincinnati does that you will spend some extra time preparing for?
"I would say, first off defensively, they are a team that has quite a bit of unusual nickel pressures. Last night was a night we spent a lot of time on third down looks, nickel looks, based on a lot of their pressures, double-A walk-ups, safeties, corners, they're pretty good at changing up the look and being fairly aggressive defensively. I think offensively they have the ability to go spontaneously, obviously the threats outside with their receivers and those guys being healthy, along with their balance of them running the football. In the kicking game when you study them, we start at the beginning of the week and we profile, they're in the top ten in three of the four categories. There is a reason they've had success and they're winning."
What has been the key to keeping Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick under 50% passing the past two weeks?
"I think there are a couple of things that are involved. Any time your pressure or your hurries are up that has to be a part of it. Number two then, the looks being varied and yet somewhat consistent. Especially when you are home it is much easier to show a look and then get out of it because your snap count on offense is a silent snap count. There are indicators that allow you to wait, those are harder when you're on the road. I think the combination of pass rush along with coverage looks and then guys doing a good job with their assignment (has been key)."
With Jimmy Graham playing through injuries and being successful, is that an intangible you see right away or is that something you have to find out about a player?
"I think each player is different. With him, he's tough. He's someone, obviously, that is very competitive. But it can vary. Some guys have a knack for that, they're very comfortable at executing even though they might be sore or there might be pain with that. Other guys, it might not be as easy for. It is dependent on the player."
Have you evolved as a play-caller over the years? Do you see yourself calling games any differently?
"Well I think one of the things that changes is as your personnel changes, as you have new receivers, new backs, new tight ends, and as that all changes, there is an evolution as to what you're doing. The other thing is ten years ago, eight years ago, what we're seeing defensively they're some similarities and yet there are some differences and it's the adjustments that you make accordingly."
Is there anything that you've noticed defensively this year that has caused you to see some things that you could do differently with the offense?
"Look, one of the things that I just finished discussing, third downs, there is an awful lot of time spent on third downs. Base, there are some X, Y, Z things you know you're going to get. When you get in to the nickel there is a little bit of, let's say you have twelve snaps of third down, matching your play with a certain pressure or a certain coverage can sometimes vary. That third down element changes a little bit and varies week to week. The redzone element is the same way. But I think the nickel, particularly third down, is one in which that's kind of always in motion."
With them stopping the run, have you seen them make any adjustments as the season has gone along?
"Like us, they're dealing with some injuries. When they've been healthy they've played some, obviously, some good teams that can run the football. I think the one thing that stands out is in their losses, there have been two or three of them that have really gotten away. In their wins, if you just look closely at their rushing numbers it is really drastically different. When they've been on schedule, when they've played well, you see defensively and offensively, but I know they've had some linebackers nicked up, they've had some down linemen, one of their best linemen has been nicked up, and that can affect what you're doing."
You mentioned the Bengals letting games get away from them and you guys have pretty much been able to avoid that over the past few years. What is the biggest factor in keeping the team in it? Is it a coaching thing or is it more on the players?
"It's probably a combination. I think in any game, and you guys see it each week, the pendulum of momentum swings back and forth. So in order to take advantage when it's in your favor and then re-correct it when it's going bad, it's a big play, maybe a sack they have defensively against you, something that all of a sudden begins to turn the tide, being mentally tough enough and having that confidence that we can kind of fight back through it. Last week if you really looked at the two halves, clearly the first half was pretty much all San Francisco and we were able to come back out and it kind of turned the momentum in our favor. I think that happens in our league for the most part in every game. Even in games if you find yourself winning by more than a score, there is still that ebb and flow to momentum and being smart enough and being tough enough to correct it is something that any good team can do."
Do you think it's typically harder for the defense not to press or the offense?
"I think it's really in all phases. Hypothetically if you give up a big play defensively and get to the sidelines, you have to get on to the next series. I think the worst thing you could do is stay on that last mistake, or that last play, or that last big drive. You really have to put that behind you, obviously recognize what went wrong and then correct it, but most importantly get on to the next play."
If Giovani Bernard cannot play you will see more of Jeremy Hill. What kind of runner is he?
"Good. He is powerful, he's got real good balance. I think he is someone that is strong and elusive. Just in scouting him and watching a lot of his games, he's got real good size. I think he's got really good quickness and feet for a guy his size but he's got that power. There are two different types of backs, really, completely different but effective."
To what extent have you ever seen players coached on how to get officials attention to get a penalty during a play?
"I don't know, we would never get into, if you go back look at the film there were a couple of OPIs (offensive pass interference calls) called in that game, right? There was one where I think (Anquan) Boldin down the sideline has some separation, hands extended. We would never try to. It's not like you're fighting through a screen in basketball and you go down. There are too many variables to your location, so there aren't those same opportunities that come up. To answer your question, I can't think of any where you are trying to coach a player. And honestly, looking at it, I don't see that as something that applies as much in our game."
Do you consider it a risky proposition in a contact sport?
"I don't even know where to begin. I think you see players all the time on the defensive line or offensive line, if one of them has gotten held, you turn and look hoping (for a call). But that's different, different than what I think you are asking."
Won't Drew Brees throw every once in a while to a penalty even when he knows it won't be completed, where it's so egregious?
"There are a couple of things that go on with a quarterback. With an obvious offsides by the defense, you take a shot. Typically when you're in your stride, you're in your motion, you're locating your throw, it's kind of hard when you notice some type of holding and throw it that way."
In your times coaching, how many times have you seen a player run the ball in a three-game period like Mark Ingram has?
"Depending on the teams I've been involved with, I'll go back to Philadelphia with Ricky Watters, Tiki Barber in New York, in Dallas, Julius Jones maybe, and then Marshall Faulk in college. A lot of it is the depth and what you're trying to accomplish"
I don't think Jimmy Graham's drawn a pass interference penalty all year. Is that a surprise?
"I don't know that you're right or wrong, but at this point in the season you might have had at least one or two, so I would say probably, since he's been in the league, by this point in the season he's drawn one or two. I don't know specifically in terms of the holding. I think he may have drawn a few holding calls, (but that's) different than a pass interference. Hopefully we get a couple."
I know it's important to have depth at the running back position because of its propensity for injuries, but when you do have a player like Mark Ingram who has been carrying the ball so well, do you maybe change at all?
"It's the hot topic. Philosophically when backs are healthy are you going to go back to rotating the runners or (keep) giving Mark the ball? I get it. Each week we'll come up with the best plan. Obviously we pay close attention to what Mark's doing right now. He's doing real well. Shoot, a year ago people were crying for his head, a handful of you here. I think this, obviously it's important for him to play so well and be healthy in light of some of the injuries we've had. I think that's something that's real encouraging. We notice and pay attention to all that stuff. We're going to do the best thing that helps us win every week."
When you see a guy who grabs opportunity like that how do you look at it?
"It was hard, because a year ago for the first quarter of the season or half of the season, he was dealing with an injury. He began to play real well the second half of the year, both he and Khiry (Robinson), really well, and so yes, as coaches and teachers we love to see our players do well. That's a great sign. He works extremely hard and I'm not going to say he's a great kid, because he's not a kid anymore, but he's fun to coach."
If you have 10 Mark Ingrams that haven't been able to perform due to lack of opportunities but have potential, how do you project who you're going to hold onto and when it's not going to work?
"You pay close attention to…You're constantly gathering information. Mark's someone we drafted and we saw a lot of positive things in the way he played. Obviously he's won a Heisman Trophy and a national championship. Typically the season ends, you go through the players and there's a lot that goes into that. His production and how he's playing has been great."
Does it surprise you sometimes that people forget he was the best player in college football at one point in time?
"He's a good football player. I'm glad we have him."
Is there a number of carries you try to stay under with for a running back or is that circumstantial?
"No, typically not. Obviously situationally what we are trying to do, those things take care of themselves. If someone's tired and all of a sudden you see it, we'll make a substitution. Typically it takes care of itself. We're always looking at what package we're in, who we want to feature. When you have some injuries, you begin to become to some degree, third down, base, maybe a few passing situations (to give Ingram a rest). A key was what we could do with Travaris (Cadet) in some rushing situations and some of the other players we are working with now."